tv NBC Bay Area News Special NBC August 11, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PDT
you're watching an nbc bay area news special. tonight, "class action." >> the big question is what are you going to do? >> a berkeley grad dives into teaching, despite the doubters. >> i just graduated from cal and i want to become a teacher, and they're like, oh, you went to uc berkeley and you want to become a teacher. >> some of the body parts of the dolphin really awesome how -- >> 3d tools come to the classroom. >> my buddies actually tried to touch it. >> will the technology help kids learn? >> reading, writing, and runs batted in. >> team work and hard work and determination. you learn that, you know, through school. >> a unique program uses
baseball to boost reading. >> i would tell them -- >> and teaching the teachers. >> one method, super famous method. >> instructional classes go into the classroom to work with veteran teachers. >> it makes it so much more useful. >> here's nbc bay area's jessica aguirre. >> welcome to the special "class action" in the bay area. tonight, we start with teaching. the profession has been in the spotlight a lot lately. striking down teacher tenure to protest over salaries to even battles over ineffective teachers. some say teaching has seen better days, or has it? teach.org wants to recruit a new generation from the best and brighters at colleges all across the country, including here in the bay area. and guess what, despite all the doubters, it is working. >> it's a little crazy because you come out of college and the big question is what are you going to do. >> this new berkeley grad knows
what she's going to do. she's going to be a teacher. a career choice erica's 100% confident in even though others question it. >> i'll see someone i haven't seen in a while and they're like, what do you do now? and i'll say i graduated from cal and i want to become a teacher. oh, you went to u.c. berkeley and you want to become a teacher. yeah, that's exactly what i want to do. >> she joined the campaign for teach.org. >> what do you think it would be like to teach? chances are, you have no idea. >> we're looking for high-achieving students successful academically, that may be looking to go into other careers and have not actually thought about teaching at the career that would be something for them. >> teach.org is targeting u.c. berkeley, stanford, san francisco state and san jose state. they've also peppered the bay area with $500,000 in donated media, with messages like make
more, teach. i think it's a great idea. we need great teachers. >> and a former chief economist at the u.s. department of labor says the status of teaching is changing. >> we've come to realize how important good teaching is and the importance of recruiting good people into the profession. that raises the stakes on stopping the ability to recruit good teachers. >> as for erica, she's focused on getting her teaching credentia credentials. >> we need to get excited about teaching so kids can be excited about learning. >> and, i think she will do it. teach.org is a joint project of the department of education. with all the donated media secured by the ad council. and very significant here is that teach.org has the backing of the two big national teachers unions. now, those teachers' unions suffered a major blow in the court this summer. in a closely watched trial, a superior court judge handed down
a ruling that could change how teachers are hired and fired in california. they disproportionately hurt poor and minority kids that get stuck with some of the worst teachers. the lawsuit was filed by this teenage girl from san carlos. you first met her right on "class action" and eight others and financially backed by wealthy silicon valley entrepreneur david welcwelch. the judge sided with them, striking down statutes the teachers unions say are there to protect teachers. those include tenure, which is permanent employment status, the teachers now get in less than two years, dismiss sal productions that judge says firing teachers is made too difficult. the teachers union say the decision is flawed and punishes all schools because of a few
poorly run districts. the two big ones confirmed with us this week they plan to appeal that decision. the judge's ruling is not yet final. but if it stands, education experts say it'll have a major impact. >> if the decision is upheld, the appeals are upheld, the laws will be rewritten with regard to tenure and dismissal and layoffs. so it has a tremendous effect. >> in the wake of the ruling, two similar lawsuits filed in new york and more lawsuits expected in other states, as well. so this big story in california is now spreading across the country, too. stay tuned for more. now, to reading writing and scoring home runs in the classrooms. turns out athletics and abcs can go hand in handed and being played out in a unique system that uses baseball to help kids read at grade level. and mixing up the lineup, and batting up to a book.
>> reporter: the action on the playground at william cobb elementary school in san francisco is not your typical schoolyard scene. one corner, kids are skipping through hopscotch. >> straight to you. >> and in the other, they're fielding ground balls from a college athlete. >> there's bright souls and fun to be around. >> volunteers are stepping up to the plate to help a nonprofit called san francisco rbi. >> i just want to show these kids that basically anything is possible. i mean, knowing, you know, what i do know about some of them, they all have such different backgrounds. >> promotes literacy in schools. along with the books comes the bats, mitts and field of dreams all centered on reading and achieving. >> we believe that you can teach children with a library without walls. >> the founder of san francisco rbi says he's focused on boosting reading levels in the
critical early years of elementary school. plus, he's a big fan of taking kids out to the ballpark and letting them rub elbows. >> we're like make a wish. out in the outfield and catching a fly ball from big poppy. and one of the giant players as they're looking to win the home run derby and those things are not the norm. >> also, the small group reading sessions. >> san francisco rbi has taken the time to understand what is good reading instruction look like. >> really nice, katie, you have volunteers go into the classroom to give kids specialized literally coaching. >> when they work with our students in the classroom, they're supporting teachers in the very strategy that teachers are trying to really enforce with students. >> your next one, use green. >> teamwork that is sure to score home run in school and in life. >> you can't really achieve anything without education. i mean, because, you know, team
work and hard work and determination, you learn that through school. >> mark one in the win column for the kids at cobb. san francisco rbi scored big this year. recently reported reading rates in kindergarten jumped 29% at the beginning of the year to 80% at the end. this fall, the program will expand to third grade. and in january, they're adding two new schools in san francisco to that program. okay. we are just getting started with class action. up next, instruction that will coaches. the experts who teach the teachers. >> i come into the classroom. i actually model, role model how to do it. we -- it's really an apprenticeship kind of model for training. >> we're going to see instructional coach in action in pleasanton and talk to the superintendent to find out why students and teachers benefit.
professional development, it's a phrase you hear a lot in the business world. whether it's a ceo, doctor or lawyer. it's not uncommon for professionals to have a coach. someone that brings new ideas and a fresh perspective. that idea is taking off in the classroom and taking seasoned educators to a whole new level. >> what's the first thing i need to draw? >> it's math time at valley view elementary in pleasanton. >> as this third grade spanish teacher is effectively know is working on the math standards. >> i see a three and marked a three. >> standing up for success in her classroom. >> i like the idea that the math is more than just the following the lines and adding and
subtracting and moving on. >> she's trading places with her kids. >> my students and teachers are other teachers. say hello, students. >> hello. >> he's one of eight instructional coaches in the pleasanton unified school district. experts in literacy, technology or in his case, math. they go into the trenches to teach veteran teachers. today's subject, a numbers talk. >> how did you get 45 as your final answer? >> come into the classroom, i actually model, role model how to do it. we -- we -- it's really an apprenticeship kind of model for training. >> tell them, they shouldn't subtract that. >> it's continuous learning. i think you want to continue to improo improve. >> she says coaching for new
teachers is standard. coaching for educators with decades of experience is novel. >> one method, super famous method. >> it elevates not just one teacher, but an entire staff. >> our goal is really to have these coaches impact other teachers who are great teachers, who want to do things differently and to continue to improve their practice. so that we have a lot of coaches. >> i'm going to share with them what he did with me. so it automatically makes sharing and collaborating so much more useful. >> while the numbers talk is spent to support, it is the kids who get the biggest take away. >> we really need to be lifelong learners. one of the things i want the kids to see is she is a lifelong learner like they are. >> give your teacher a round of applause. >> thank you for teaching us something today. >> yeah. >> for teaching me something. >> i'm joined now by parvina,
the superintendent of schools, and full disclosure, this is my district, and i have seen these coaches firsthand. it was magical to see them working in the classroom working together. but i know you're taking this to another level by adding more because you had some math coaches, technology coach and liter literalsy, but you're expanding the program. >> we're going to have one technology coach, which is actually funded by our foundation through parent donations. and we are adding two more instructional coaches for english learners and intervention program, and those two are paid through our new funding formula, the local funding formula and our supplemental fund. >> i want to get more into the local funding formula in a second. i want to talk about this idea, this concept of instructional coaches. it's not new, but this is done in a different way.
>> why does a teacher need to be coached? and when you talk about staff development, a lot of times people talk about, oh, it's teachers getting off for a day. this is really meant to be for the kids? >> absolutely. the best kind of professional development is job invented professional development that is ongoing. you know, we used to go to workshops and i used to call them make it and take it workshops. one time, you know, a deal where you would just learn about something new and then go back and try to implement it without really having someone to model, to watch you, to coach and mentor as you really perfect your craft. that's really what instructional coaching allows you to do. the other thing i always think about is we all need to get better at what we do. and if we really to prepare students for the 21st century for the kind of work they're
going to do and to be able to think critically and problem solve and really be flexible, we need to change our practice. so it's changed. and i sort of look at it as a second-order change. and that's where your values and norms and expertise are changing. and it takes a little bit more time. >> now, something that's also changed dramatically for pleasanton and the rest of the state is the way it receives money from the state and what you can do, local control funding, which means you'll basically get a certain amount from the state. a lot of the money is set aside for minority kids, english learners. tell me how you're using that money? and how does that change the dynamics of being a superintendent? >> i think it gives us an opportunity to really look at needs. and then, talk about how to use the funds to meet the needs of whoever the students have to do.
>> what are some of the things in your head you're doing? >> i'm really pleased with how we came up with the plan to spend the money because we had a lot of feetback through a group we put together called local accountability committee, which included many parents or several parents and some staff members. >> you have to come up with a plan. >> exactly. we came up with the plan, and some of the programs, parent community members who have actually worked with us in that capacity before. but we've increased their time. and their influence. we've added the coaches that i've talked about. we have actually provided technology and devices to students who do not have access to them. we want to make sure they have internet access. we are planning intervention classes. when it's really the best time for students. because often times, we have intervention classes, let's say,
right after school. and that might not be the best thing for students in middle and high school. >> this allows you to tailor the needs of the children and the community in a way you weren't able to do before because you don't have to stick things in a specific category to be able to put that out. >> you said something right now, buzz word we're hearing. 21st century learning. how do you adapt 21st century learning? >> i think it's nothing new. i think it's just we're looking at it in a different way. i think we've always known that we need to get our kids to be -- to be critical thinkers. we need kids to collaborate and work together to solve problems. we know that's the best way for kids to learn. we know that's what excites them. we have known that for a long, long time. and i think we've tried different things to address t t that, but i think we are really focusing on it because of the standards. because they're deeper, they get kids to think that way. and i think that's really what 21st century learning is
tailoring your teaching to the needs of the students in today's society. >> common core has had some resistance in other states. how do you feel it's rolled out here in california? and what's been the response that you've seen so far? not only from the teachers, but from students. >> i think sometimes people have a negative image of common core because they think we are going to teach children what to think. >> mm-hmm. >> and that's not true. >> common core state standards and what we're doing with that is we -- it's to teach kids how to think. what is the best way to address a problem? it is not -- we are not going to be telling students what to think and what to believe. but we want them to be equipped with the kinds of skills and tools that will really help them as they grow up. they get into the workforce, they go to college in order to be able to do that. >> and the last 30 seconds here,
as you begin the journey of a new school year, what are you most excited about? >> i'm excited about our students coming back. and i'm excited about our teachers and administrators who have gone through a lot of training the last two years. and i'm excited about the fact that now we will have additional instructional coaches. and they've done this for years. they'll be available for teachers. i'm excited about a lot of new things that we've put in place to support all students. and engage them. i look forward to the first -- first day of school all the time. this is a special year. >> good, thank you so much for being here and sharing your ideas with us. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back.
all the theaters, and now the virtual technology may be coming to a classroom near you, as well. the los altos school district is running a pilot program to find out if studying 3d images can actually help kids learn. >> the lab at the elementary school in los altos is the site of an unusual class project. >> some of the body parts of the dolphin. really awesome how it's shown here. >> these kids are among the first in the country to use a new 3d educational display. >> it's really amazing. >> the los altos school district is doing a pilot program to test a learning tool that uses glasses and a stylus. to create an immersive educational experience. >> it's actually like -- i haven't imagined it before. i never knew technology was this advanced. >> i tell them, turn your hand and see the inside of it. and some of them jump back in
excitement of what they can explore. >> these sixth graders are using these to make presentations about marine life to the first grade class buddies. >> and you can hold it better with 13 minutes. >> they couldn't believe there was an actual lobster in front of it. >> four cameras. >> the system tracks the user's glasses and then generates a realtime 2d display of the students' 3d experience. >> it's in 3d. >> when computers came along, we stopped interacting spatially and started looking at things that were stuck to a screen or behind a screen. and that barrier is removed. >> isn't it surreal, like you can hold it? it feels like you're kind of taking up the actual fish and taking it apart. and feels like you're right there with the animal or whatever you're taking apart. >> the district doesn't know definitively yet if the deep
space technology improves learning, but a lot of signs point to the success. >> they're just finding tons of different things they can explore that they never even knew they were interested in. >> okay. want to take it apart? >> one thing is certain, the kids are excited to learn. >> okay. that lobster looks so real. it is just really neat stuff. as for the cost, it can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 for the set-up. it may be pricey for some districts. now, we should mention, too, that it's not just for k-12 schools. it is also being used at ucsf. very cool. medical students can literally pull out a 3d heart and then peel it apart for an upclose look inside the heart without ever touching a human body. back in a moment.
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